It’s as easy as 1 in 6.2 billion!

By Michael McGuire | Jul 21, 2018

It has arrived! And I’m going to be a winner!

I’ve pored over all the important documents and I am psyched! No, I am beyond psyched; I am stoked and I am turbo-charged. I am ready to be not just “a winner,” I am ready to be “the Winner!”

The documents in the envelope I opened from Publishers Clearing House tell me that I am on the verge of being issued a prize number that will allow me to be authorized to be authenticated as being fully eligible to win a prize that pays $1,000 A Day For Life!

For the moment I’ll skip over the fact that I am not really clear what is meant by “be authenticated.” I’m pretty confident that I am authentic, but let’s move on.

My nerves are all atwitter! I am just so energized! If I get $1,000 a day for every single day of my life, that means after just three years I will have received $1,095,000. That’s pretty cool. After 10 years, I will have received $3,650,000! But taking it out to 35 years, I will receive $12,775,000. Yikes!

I need to pause for a moment.

I’m pretty sure there are actuarial tables that point to the statistical probability that I will not be around for another 35 years. But I might. Frankly, if I do not win this prize, I will not be able to retire any time soon and then live off my retirement savings for 35 years.

Truth be known, my target age for “retirement” is pretty fluid. Some days I look at 70, other days I look at 75. On those days when I look at my IRA and the rest of my “savings” and assets, I quietly whisper to my golden retriever, Lily, that my retirement is only likely to occur “some day.” She always wags her tail and gives me a smile.

So let’s get back to “winning.”

I am getting the papers needed to mail in my Winning Entry and am ready to stuff the envelope when a small four-page document slips out of a much larger document. It declares “Official Rules Enclosed.”

Well, yeah, I mutter to myself. You gotta have “rules” and for Publishers Clearing House, they most certainly have to be “Official,” because this is a very … I mean very … official real contest.

I flip over the four-page document and look at the words “Sweepstakes Facts.”

Right there I see that this has to do with not just the $1,000 A-Day-For-Life prize, but also another prize of $1,000,000. Yeah, that’s cool. I could use a million.

I don’t have to do very much besides send in some paper that bears my prize number. I don’t even need a stamp! And, I don’t need to buy anything, because buying something will not increase my chances of winning.

So, if you are still with me and haven’t run off to check your mail for your official opportunity to be “authenticated,” I would like to point out something about the “chances of winning.”

Sweepstakes Facts: For the prize of $1 million, the estimated odds of me (or anyone else) winning are … drum roll… 1 in 3,100,000,000. That’s not a typo. One in 3.1 billion!

According to the World Population Clock, that is roughly equal to the combined populations of China, India, the United States, Indonesia and Brazil.

For the prize of $1,000 A-Day-For-Life, the odds of anyone winning are 1 in 6,200,000,000. I’m not kidding, it’s one in 6.2 billion. In addition to the countries named above, we will need to add: Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Russia, Mexico, Japan, Ethiopia, Philippines, Egypt, Vietnam, D.R. Congo, Germany, Iran, Turkey, Thailand, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Burma, South Africa, Tanzania, South Korea, Spain, Colombia, Kenya, Argentina, Ukraine, Algeria, Uganda and Iraq. Give or take a few million.

By comparison, the odds of winning Powerball are set at 1 in 292 million.

I actually have a much better chance of dying by a meteorite or comet striking Earth (1 in 1.6 million), being attacked by a shark (1 in 8 million) or getting hit by lightning (1 in 135,000).

I still might send in my PCH entry. I don’t have to buy a stamp, so I’m already ahead by 50 cents (or 49 cents for a forever stamp).

I need to face the fact that while I can dream all I want, I really need a Plan B. I’m quite sure that involves continuing in my job, contributing to my retirement account, keeping hands off my IRA and telling Congress to stop messing with Social Security.

I explained all of this to Lily. She wagged her tail and gave me her “golden smile.”

Michael McGuire is the former associate publisher of Courier Publications. He currently teaches at Oceanside High School and unless he wins the PCH contest or a big lottery, he will continue to teach.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Jul 21, 2018 18:51

Michael McGuire better continue to teach. We need him!

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